The Chateau Margot Chimney: A monument of cultural heritage that still stands strong
As Guyanese, we constantly overlook those things which gave us definition as a people, we forget quite easily that history and the bygone days have left us with memoirs to remind us that we came from somewhere and our efforts to excel have not been in vain. A simple drive up the East Coast of Demerara, and one such memory that history has left us with could clearly be seen. It is nestled within the Chateau Margot Chimney.
The Chateau Margot Chimney is one of the most well-known landmarks on the Demerara coast, situated 8 miles away from Georgetown, adjacent to the public road in its namesake village Chateau Margot, with the villages of Success to the west and La Bonne Intention (LBI) to the east.
The chimney’s construction was completed on July 1st, 1889 and was done by a Buxtonian brick layer by the name of Anthony Gordon. It is made completely of red bricks, standing on a large concrete base.
The Chateau Margot Chimney would appear to be the only remains of a former sugar factory that was built on the land it is currently situated on; however despite its functions during the time of the operation of the sugar factory, it was also used as a beacon for ships approaching Port Georgetown. This continued even after the factory was demolished.
One notable fact was that after the completion of the chimney, its constructor, Gordon, upon seeing the vast amount of smoke that billowed out from the top said “Had it not been for the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob, I would have drowned the heavens in smoke.”
The chimney stands where it is today, unaffected by the ravages of the sun and the rain, unwavering and brilliantly reaching for the sky, giving passers-by
a look way back into the past.
Above all, the monument remains part of our heritage, and we are called upon to make a special effort to preserve what has been left by our ancestors as a legacy of their hard work and sacrifice.
To this end, the National Trust of Guyana, in keeping with its mandate to preserve and promote our historic monuments and sites, has cleared the environs of the chimney, making it easily accessible to visitors.
Additionally, if history ever had a say in the life we live today, then the Chateau Margot Chimney would be a prime example of that; as seen in the poem written by well-renowned poet Rooplal Monar. Here is an extract of that beautiful piece called “Koker”.
Landmark at Chateau Margot
Defiant of wind and weather
Dwarfing the tall green trees around;
Innumerable bricks labouriously laid
Fashioned your form so straight and strong.
Where is the being that gave you shape?
If you could answer, you would tell:
“His bones are hidden in the dust
and time has dulled the scroll of memory.”
Yet, in your form and bearing there exudes
The spirit of your maker long deceased.
Once your hollow symmetry
Like a giant sky-trained gun
Belched forth munitions of black dust
That seemed to drown high heaven
and hide the sun;
But now, your sooty task, complete
You remain serene, majestic,
Enveloped in earth and sky and air
An age-long monument to your designer
Gladdening eyes at sea.
So, like you,
when my brief task of rhyming is complete
And the dark dust of my musings to earth subsides,
May my soul’s song survive:
A time defying monument in VERSE.